turn up

October 31st, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Today in sailing history (our personal one), we splashed our dear sailing vessel/expensive toy/love shack/mini restaurant/science lab Tranquility for the first time. We had been working on her for a summer that turned into five months in New Bedford, MA. Her maiden voyage was quite short – we just motored across the bay to Arne and Gail’s docks in Fairhaven – and she didn’t even have her sails on yet.

Yesterday, Fabio lamented along the lines of “if he knew then what he knows now” and how we could have done the deep refit that is happening now in a much shorter amount of time, and all in one shot.

I, on the other hand, could not be happier with how this second pass at the boat has worked out. In addition to the extended learning curve it offers us for boat works, has given me a (forced) chance to figure out a little more about who I am aside from Sewage Girl or Compost Kate. I am still those things, but I am also getting to rest my body and soul here in coastal GA. A relaxed person is different from her high strung version, I see.

Last night I went out on the back porch between rounds of test baking – I am trying to perfect what I call the Hand Bun, a mini bread with savory filling that one might gift to other sailors, house guests or an ailing neighbor. Before I drank from the glass of water I had left out there, I checked it for frogs. This is my Friday night turn up – Hand Buns and frog water.

Frog water in nature; Hand Bun variant that is more empanada-eyFrog water in nature; Hand Bun variant that is more empanada-ey

Every so often I notice the change. I used to wear stress and anxiety like a suit of armor. After awhile there wasn’t even a reason to have it on, but there it stayed. I believed the lie my brain told me that I couldn’t live without it’s protection, even when the rest of my body was getting sicker and sicker under its weight. Now that it has come off, I can’t even imagine putting it back on. When I feel the dis-ease flutter up through my belly, I can look around and see what needs to change. Sometimes I just need to lay on the floor – something I’m not sure I could have found out living aboard.

The boat plan itself was a bit of a fire exit to begin with. How else does one attempt to gracefully exit one’s life? There was a time when I would have considered moving apartments as a high-level trauma. So to not just move but leave my work and friends as well was only reasonable if I was “sailing off into the sunset”. These days, I feel less and less need for an escape plan or cover story. I seek out activities and people that calm my soul, and the more I do, the better vantage I get on where I’ve been and where I’m going.

So happy anniversary SY Tranquility! Your name has gone from ironic to aspirational to seemingly attainable in two short years.

productive purging

October 12th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Every day, as if on cue, he steps into our closet and lets out an exasperated sigh, “WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF.” Personally, I think its more of an organizational issue over volume, but he is nonetheless convinced. Knowing that we will return to the boat inhibits us from accumulating many things, but when it comes to books and clothes, we sort of went nuts over the course of the past year.

Fabio churns through work clothes, searing them with rough work and chemicals. I have to look presentable for office visits, and be comfortable for yoga and general healing. At this point, I can expect that whenever I walk up to the check out counter at the local thrift store, no matter what is in my hands, I will be met with the same greeting – “That looks like about five dollars…” And so our stuff stacks get higher and topple.

On a potentially related note, being somewhat housebound will drive me down crafting rabbit holes quite often. Most recently (in the midst of a clothing purge), I became interested in ways to upcycle our already second-hand things for gifting or sale. After a few random successes and a few more teachable failures, I came to rest on a bleach-dye process that merges some of the control of batik with the random outcomes of tie-dye.

Having worked my way through most of our throw-away pile on do-overs, I ended up back at the thrift store with five dollars worth of this:floor_inventory

You, dear reader, might recognize this color palette from the central feature of my life on Instagram, the yard (#yard life):

I ran these raw materials through my back porch upcycling facility and this is what came out:

Last night we made pizza with a few boat friends, and James Baldwin of Atom regaled us with the time he financed a tour of the Pacific with a box of 150 rock and roll t-shirts he provisioned in Miami. The idea of American tourists going to Tahiti and spending 25$ on a t-shirt from Miami is a hoot. As aimless as it feels, as far away from boat life I am with this full closet of stuff, maybe this downtime will end up fruitful after all. At the very least I have an answer to Fabio’s opinion of our accumulated stuff – “IT’S INVENTORY!”, I reply.

dark field

October 6th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Dark field microscopy is one of my favorite imaging techniques (as a viewer). A single tiny barnacle larva, pollen grain, or diatom is there in stark neon detail, seemingly embedded into an infinite corner of deep space.


Recent images captured of the first “glowing” sea turtle during a night dive in the Solomon Islands reminded me of this technique. When I briefly saw those images scroll up my Facebook feed, for a moment I assumed I was looking at one of these intricate bits of dark field flotsam instead of a large, complex reptile in flight.

Biolumenecence is what the technique invokes, even for creatures not so lucky to glow on their own. The process merges conventional light microscopy with the same low-light photographic principals one might employ for night sky images, a few of my favorite things. Apparently you can get pretty nice results even using a student or even toy microscope.

I feel an experiment coming…

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